Woman desperate to visit 92-year-old mother 'frustrated' by CVS vaccine sign-up website

'I checked back every 5 minutes... We are willing to do whatever it takes'
K. Alferio and Mom
Posted at 6:57 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 19:00:41-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginians are truly desperate to get COVID-19 shots, and with just 26,000 doses coming in a week to CVS, the first round covers less than one percent of our current vaccine eligible population who has not already received a shot.

Yet many saw a glimmer of hope with the CVS vaccines. People like K. Alferio, who said she wants to visit her 92-year-old home-bound mother in Arkansas after not seeing her for over a year.

"I really, I need to go see her. I just don't feel comfortable traveling through different states at this time," Alferio said.

K. Alferio and Mom
K. Alferio and Mom

RELATED: Virginia's COVID-19 vaccine czar on what went wrong with CVS rollout

Early Tuesday morning, she tried to schedule an appointment when the CVS site opened up to no avail.

"We tried from midnight until 2 to 3 in the morning to get on, and it kept saying nothing was available," Alferio said.

Then she tried again on Thursday morning.

"I got up every hour from midnight until 4 o'clock," Alferio recalled. "At four o'clock every city in Virginia was listed as having available appointments."

But when she tried to schedule one, a message came up that said the CVS scheduler was being updated.

"From 4 to 7 I checked back every 5 minutes," Alferio said.

By 7:15, the website said all appointments were booked.

"It's very frustrating," Alferio said.

K. Alferio
K. Alferio

A CVS spokesperson said they did not experience any technical difficulties, but that a very small number of appointments were added to the site on Thursday after all the appointments were booked on Tuesday.

She said they were able to add some appointments Thursday after receiving their shipment of doses on Wednesday, but she could not explain exactly why.

That spokesperson said customers should check the site regularly to see if any appointments open up in case someone cancels.

But, she could not give an exact day or time that CVS would post appointments for their next shipment of 26,000 doses.

She said it would probably be next Wednesday or Thursday.

Alferio said she plans to keep checking.

"We are willing to do whatever it takes, yes," Alferio said.

However, she wishes CVS would create a waitlist where people can pre-register for when appointments do become available.

"It's just evidently the luck of the draw," Alferio said. "You would at least like to feel like you're lining up in line somewhere."

The CVS spokesperson said they have no plans to create a waitlist so people can pre-register.

Also, after Virginia health officials told WTVR CBS 6 on Tuesday that CVS would be checking IDs to make sure the people showing up for vaccine appointments were actually eligible, CVS said Thursday they will not be checking IDs when people get their shots.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.